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The world of design is constantly changing. As designers, we must now be able to design not only for print and web, but also for tablets, phones, and other devices as well. One of the new features in Illustrator CS6 that will help you with this are the new startup profiles. Basically a startup profile is a set of document parameters that help you setup your working environment for different types of projects. Each time you go to create a new document in Illustrator, you have the option to choose one of these profiles to help jumpstart your document. You can make any kind of change you like along the way, but these are great starting points for a multitude of workflows.
If I go up to the File menu and choose New, the New Document dialog box opens. Directly underneath the naming section you'll see a section labeled Profile. Expanding this down will show you all of the different profiles that you have available to you. In previous versions of Illustrator, you were given a limited number of choices that were somewhat generic, like Print, Web, Flash Catalyst, Mobile & Device, Video and Film, and then my two favorites, Basic CMYK and Basic RGB. In Illustrator CS6, you'll notice that the CMYK option has been removed altogether.
Mobile & Devices has simply been dubbed Devices, and Flash Catalyst has now been renamed to Flash Builder. The great part about these profiles is that Adobe is actually taking note of the popularity of devices like iPad, iPhone, and also the Fire and Nook Tablets as well. You'll also notice that the Web profile supports a new default size, which is more indicative of modern times. Let's take a look at some of these profiles now. So if I switch to Devices, you'll notice if I go down to the Size section, I have the option to choose between iPad, iPhone, Xoom, Fire/Nook, and also the Galaxy S. So if I choose iPad it automatically updates to be 768 pixels wide by 1024 pixels high.
If I switch the Orientation, switches at 1024x768, the default size for the iPad. If I switch to something like the Motorola Xoom, it automatically changes to fit that resolution as well. It's an instant change and it's really helpful, that way I don't have to remember what all these devices screen sizes are, Illustrator takes care of that for me. Like I said, you can modify these settings all you want, but if you have a specific need to design for a device like the Kindle Fire or the Motorola Xoom, these new profiles make it much easier to do just that.
Let's go back up here and switch to the Web profile. You'll notice when I switch to the Web profile the new default is 960x560. 960 is a very popular format in web design today and that's why they've chosen it. But if I drop this down you'll also notice that you have the ability to choose from 1024x768, 1280x800, 800x600, and 640x480, so all of your favorites are still there, as well as some new ones as well. Anytime you choose one of these, it automatically updates and you're ready to go.
When you're ready to create your document, simply hit OK, Illustrator automatically creates your new document with the profile you selected and you're ready to start adding artwork. So no matter what your next project, take a look at the startup profiles that are now available to you in Illustrator CS6. It's a great way to jumpstart your next project, no matter what the device you're designing for.
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